Today, on this one-year anniversary of Grantland’s demise, Matt and I take to the podcast to discuss what we loved about the site, what we wished had been better, and what we hope to see from its sequel site, The Ringer. In a time when it’s as hard as it ever was to pay people for the content they create (especially on the Internet), losing Grantland is still a tough pill to swallow.
We talk, of course, about Bill Simmons…
Tim: It’s been interesting to me that he’s really good at finding, developing, and sticking up for this, sort of, group of talented people, who we didn’t necessarily know they were there before.
Matt: He wanted to be the “bad boy,” yes, but I’ll give him this: I think he really values the work, and like, what the people working for him are doing and cultivating this fun and good working environment –
Matt: – and for all his foibles, especially in his interaction with, like, the brass of ESPN, I mean, I’ll always give him that credit, that he’s just good at creating community and letting people flourish in it.
Tim: Yeah, that’s – I guess I was doing a bad job at saying that. I guess my point is that it’s ironic is that the guy who has a history as being, like, ESPN’s bad employee is actually a very good employer.
…but we also touch on some of the highlights of the Grantland run in broad strokes, considering for example their themed weeks:
Matt: What I was really expecting when I heard they were doing that (a 40th Anniversary of SNL week), okay, I knew they were doing a cast member bracket, which was fun in its own right. And it actually ended correctly.
Tim: Yes it did.
Matt: And anti-climactically, for that. But I thought they were going to do like, your basic sendup to famous skits or famous performers or whatever and it would be your run-of-the-mill stuff, and I should have known better because they went in and had people do profiles of, some of the writers that no one’s heard of, or Kenan Thompson got one of the biggest features…they did a lovely Phil Hartman tribute, or they would do one on like Jan Hooks, and I think Cheri Oteri got something.
We also talked about The Ringer, which for better or worse has replaced Grantland for so many Internet readers.
Tim: When I knew that The Ringer was gong to make tech one of their things I was a little worried about it, just ’cause I didn’t know where they would go with it, and I have never been a tech person anywya. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised, just like, highly readable interesting articles all the way through about the tech aspect that I’ve enjoyed. I think that I dunno that Grantland needed to have, but as part of The Ringer’s identity, that’s becoming integral, and I like that about it.
Many of our other favorite articles and writers from Grantland, the tics about the site that annoyed us, and our many hopes and dreams for The Ringer (end the politics coverage, O Lord) are covered herein. Come along and join us as we mope together in remembrance.